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See more synonyms for bleat on Thesaurus.com
verb (used without object)
  1. to utter the cry of a sheep, goat, or calf or a sound resembling such a cry.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to give forth with or as if with a bleat: He bleated his objections in a helpless rage.
  2. to babble; prate.
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  1. the cry of a sheep, goat, or calf.
  2. any similar sound: the bleat of distant horns.
  3. foolish, complaining talk; babble: I listened to their inane bleat all evening.
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Origin of bleat

before 1000; Middle English bleten, Old English blǣtan; cognate with Dutch blaten, Old High German blāzen; akin to Latin flēre to weep
Related formsbleat·er, nounbleat·ing·ly, adverbout·bleat, verb (used with object)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for bleating

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Sheep were bleating high up on the frost-nipped side of the fell.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine

  • His lower jaw had been trembling all the time and his voice was like the bleating of a sick goat.

    The Shadow-Line

    Joseph Conrad

  • The bleating of the new-dropt lambs was faintly heard from the fields.

  • Simultaneously she remembered that she had not heard the bleating of the sheep.

    Brand Blotters

    William MacLeod Raine

  • The bleating of the fawn at once recalls the mother to its side.

British Dictionary definitions for bleating


  1. (intr) (of a sheep, goat, or calf) to utter its characteristic plaintive cry
  2. (intr) to speak with any similar sound
  3. to whine; whimper
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  1. the characteristic cry of sheep, goats, and young calves
  2. any sound similar to this
  3. a weak complaint or whine
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Derived Formsbleater, nounbleating, noun, adjective

Word Origin

Old English blǣtan; related to Old High German blāzen, Dutch blaten, Latin flēre to weep; see blare
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for bleating



Old English blætan, from West Germanic *bhle- (cf. Dutch blaten "to bleat"), of imitative origin (cf. Greek blekhe "a bleating; the wailing of children," Old Church Slavonic blejat "to bleat," Latin flere "to weep"). Related: Bleated; bleating.

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c.1500, from bleat (v.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper